Stay-at-Home Seven: June 24 to July 1

Films to stream or catch on TV this week

by Amber Wilkinson

Seydou (Seydou Sarr) with Moussa (Moustapha Fall) crossing the desert
Seydou (Seydou Sarr) with Moussa (Moustapha Fall) crossing the desert
Io Capitano, streaming now on MUBI

As Agniezska Holland's docureal exploration of the migrant crisis, Green Border, hits cinemas (and I highly recommend you catch that if you can), Matteo Garrone's more fairy-tale flavoured examination of the situation has landed on the streaming service. His focus is a pair of cousins, Seydou (Seydou Sarr) and Moussa (Moustapha Fall), who are convinced they will find their own happily ever after in Europe. Their hopefulness is palpable as they leave Senegal with their savings but soon their dreams slam up against a reality of exploitation and violence. Garrone's film may initially appear a more gentle sort than Holland's but he doesn't shy away from the brutality the boys face - all the more hard hitting in the face of the open-hearted performances from Sarr and Fall. Like every fairy tale, this one comes complete with a host of heroes, villains and life lessons - while asking us what sort of ending we think we should offer people like Seydou and Moussa. Read what Matteo Garrone told us about fairy tales and his film.

Aftersun, streaming now on BBC iPlayer

Time and place feel both concrete and, at times, slippery in this debut from British director Charlotte Wells. The firm sense of place is generated by a Turkish holiday resort in the Nineties, where young single dad Calum (Paul Mescal) is spending time with his 11-year-old daughter Sophie (Frankie Corio). We see the problems Calum has that Sophie doesn't as she is more focused on the holiday emotions of childhood, like hanging out with new friends or a first kiss. Framed by the older Sophie (Celia Rowlson-Hall) looking back at a holiday video shot on the trip, we see how interactions take on ambiguity through the passage of time. These uncertainties are also emphasised by strobe-filled moments of emotion that speak to the past, present and future all at once. This is an ambitious film that finds strength in its emotional texture and the pitch perfect performances of its two leads.

Midsommar, 10.50pm, Film4, Monday, June 24

Jennie Kermode writes: When Midsommar first came to the screen, it was understandably greeted with caution because it looked like yet another of the numerous Wicker Man rip-offs out there, and nobody expected very much of it. That was in part because despite her stunning turn in William Oldroyd's Lady Macbeth, Florence Pugh was still a little known quantity. In due course, both the film and its star would come to be seen very differently. Director Ari Aster sets the tone from the outset: an unhealthy relationship, a heartrending family tragedy, a young woman so crushed by it all than whenever she calls out her boyfriend on his frequent failures to consider her feelings, she's the one who ends up apologising. Everything changes when the said boyfriend reluctantly lets her accompany him and his friends on a trip to a remote village in Sweden inhabited by a cult which openly carries on an ancient way of life with a few fresh embellishments of its own. Communal living and cyclical time change the heroine's perspective in fundamental ways, leading to a poetically brutal dénouement which leaves open the question of whether she has found freedom or just another trap. It's psychologically astute, fierce in its critiques of academic ethnology, and beautifully designed. Pugh is superb.

Beast, Netflix, streaming from Friday, June 28

Baltasar Kormákur's safari thriller is, at heart, a beast of a B-movie, lifted by Idris Elba's central performance as Dr Nate Samuels. He is on a trip to South Africa with his teen daughters Mere (Iyana Halley) and Norah (Leah Jeffries). It's a homecoming of sorts, in that their late mother was from the region, but it's also intended as a bonding jaunt since Nate and their mother were separated. It's the male of another pack they'll soon be concerned with - an injured lion which, in the way of this sort of film, is out for vengeance. Even if Nate's mate Martin (Sharlto Copley) is on cuddling terms with a pair of lions he raised from cubs, the film soon shows its teeth. Kormákur's direction is workmanlike, and the action sequences, once they start, do keep on coming, even if much of it is on the silly side. Not exactly a roaring success but a solid piece of undemanding cinema for a Friday evening with popcorn to hand.

Music Box, 2.25am, Talking Pictures TV (Freeview Channel 82), Saturday, June 29

Jennie Kermode writes: Ann (Jessica Lange) is a hard working lawyer who has a complex but loving relationship with her father (Armin Mueller-Stahl), a Hungarian immigrant in the US. When allegations emerge about his activities during the Second World War, she immediately assumes that there must have been a case of mistaken identity, but as she investigates in order to provide his legal defence, she gradually realises that he may not be the man she thought he was. This thoughtful film, which focuses on the interpersonal drama rather than the thriller elements of its plot, takes its heroine on a difficult emotional journey and explores familial tensions which, at a different level, most viewers will be able to relate to.

Calm With Horses, 11.35pm, Film4, Sunday, June 30

Cosmo Jarvis has been busy cementing his name internationally recently with Disney+ show Shogun but he already has a CV full of interesting roles in indy films like this. HIs nuanced central performance anchors this debut feature from Nick Rowland about a gangland enforcer who gets trapped in a moral maze. Arm (Jarvis) finds himself increasingly torn between doing the bidding of Dympna (Barry Keoghan, in what feels like a rare role in his homeland these days), who calls the shots in his criminal clan - and his responsibilities towards his autistic son and ex (Niamh Algar). The film is also notable for its moody and bleak exterior cinematography from Piers McGrail.

Tove, BBC2, 2am, Monday, July 1

This graveyard hour slot seems a bit late for Moomin fans - although the film will subsequently be available on BBC iPlayer if you don't fancy staying up. Whenever you catch it, you'll be glad you did as this drama centring on children's book author Tove Jansson (Alma Pöysti) is one of the better biopics of recent years. Zaida Bergroth charts Jansson's struggle to step out of the shadow of her famous father at the same time as giving an insight into the artist's personal relationships. Bergroth goes beyond the whys and wherefores of Jansson's life to offer a satisfying emotional portrait of a woman shaping her identity.

This week's short selection is Adrian Sitaru's The Cage. The Romanian director has since gone on to make feature Illegitimate

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